Aldi grows sales to record high but operating profit takes a hit as discount supermarket unveils plans for store upgrades

Caitlin Morrison
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Discount supermarket Aldi has announced plans for a £300m overhaul of its UK stores as it reported record sales for the year to 31 December 2015.

The figures

Sales in the UK and Ireland rose to £7.7bn from £6.9bn, a year-on-year increase of 12 per cent, and twice what the company reported three years ago.

Operating profits fell 1.8 per cent to £255.6m from £260.4m in 2014, which Aldi said reflected its continued investment in prices.

The firm said it added 761,000 new customers in 2015, giving it a 15.3 per cent increase in market share - Aldi now holds 6.2 per cent of the UK grocery market. The supermarket is ultimately aiming to grow market share to 10 per cent.

Why it's interesting

Alongside its results, Aldi unveiled plans to "refresh" its UK stores with a £300m investment. The supermarket said 100 stores will be refurbished in 2017 with elements already being introduced into new stores this year. The new format includes newly-designed fixtures for beers, wines and spirits, fresh produce and baby and toddler, as well as a new food-to-go fixture.

It said it would also open 70 new stores in the UK next year – adding to its existing 659-strong portfolio - as part of its plan to reach 1,000 by 2022.

What Aldi said

“Aldi has continued to win the trust of millions of new customers thanks to a single, simple and unbroken promise – to provide the very best quality products at prices that cannot be beaten," said chief executive Matthew Barnes.

"We’re doing what I have always said we would do – investing our margin to maintain a significant price advantage over our competitors, keeping Aldi the lowest-price supermarket in Britain with outstanding quality products.

“This is the secret behind the bond we enjoy with our customers and it is why people keep coming back to Aldi, time and again. Regardless of what competitors may say or do, our price advantage will be maintained and our customers will always pay the lowest grocery prices in the UK."

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